As University of Virginia alums, it made sense for this couple to return to Charlottesville for their big day.
1 of 18
Since Kara Jones and Taylor Hogge met and began dating while completing their undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia, it made sense that they would want to marry near Charlottesville—particularly at a venue with ties to the university. Seven Oaks Farms and Vineyards, located approximately 15 minutes outside of the city, proved to be the perfect locale. "We loved the mountain views, the old historic home, and the multiple spaces where we could hold different aspects of our wedding. And, of course, the connection to UVA—it was owned by the university's first bursar," says Kara. "The venue really encapsulates so much of what makes Charlottesville special: great wine, beautiful views, and warm and welcoming owners, who also happen to be UVA alums," adds Taylor.
Since the pair didn't want to detract from the scenic views of the property, they designed around the venue's best features to create a romantic garden party, accented with lots of wood and greenery and touches of aubergine and cream. "We both wanted a rustic theme, which felt very at home in the setting," says Taylor. "I'm a big nature lover, so accenting the natural beauty of one of my favorite places in the world was most important to me."
The couple and 150 of their loved ones traveled (some ventured all the way from China!) to the sentimental spot on October 13, 2018, a cool and sunny day without a cloud in the sky—the perfect weather for an outdoor autumn wedding. "I've never felt more supported and loved, or experienced such an overwhelming sense of joy," says Kara. "It was incredible having so many people who have stolen a piece of my heart all in the same place."
2 of 18
Kara's silk and tulle Alexandra Grecco wedding dress trumped the 60 other gowns she'd previously tried on. "I loved the detailed, hand-embroidered floral appliqués, subtle color, and most importantly, that it made me feel like the most beautiful version of myself," says Kara.
5 of 18
Sentimental Groom's Accessories
In addition to a navy shawl-neck tuxedo from The Black Tux, the groom wore a bow tie covered in red peonies, his bride's favorite flower. His cuff links, a Christmas present from his mother and stepfather, featured a nautical map of the York River in Gloucester, Virginia, where he and his late father used to fish. "Since my dad couldn't be there in person, it was important to me to wear my cuff links for the wedding to honor him," Taylor says.
Swipe here for next slide
6 of 18
A Brilliant Bridal Party
Bridesmaids donned brilliant aubergine dresses of their choosing, having selected their favorite styles from WTOO by Watters. A trio of flower girls—all cousins of the bride—wore creamy dresses custom made by one of Kara's family members.
7 of 18
Kara and Taylor both say that their first look was their favorite part of the big day. "It gave us a moment to ourselves and put the day into perspective," says Taylor. "I went from feeling incredibly nervous to totally relaxed as soon as I turned around and saw her. After the first look we both were able to loosen up a bit and enjoy the day to the fullest."
8 of 18
Inspired Miniature Programs
Guests were greeted by tiny paper pyramids that briefly outlined the ceremony and opened to reveal dried flower petals for tossing.
9 of 18
A Naturally Beautiful Ceremony Site
Wooden chairs were arranged on the property's lush lawn, creating a natural aisle of emerald green grass. Potted herbs added to the landscape, while tables set with burgundy flower arrangements defined the altar area.
10 of 18
The spiritual vibe of the ceremony was enhanced by the contributions of loved ones. A member of Taylor's extended family officiated the ceremony, and Kara's 88-year-old grandfather gave a recitation from the novel Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey that was so theatrical, it brought the bride and groom from the edge of tears to laughter and back again.
One of Kara's favorite parts of the ceremony was a moment taken to acknowledge all of the important people who were there in spirit, including Taylor's father and the pair's late grandparents. The vows themselves were a clever take on the conventional. "We riffed on traditional vows, making them perfect for us," says the bride.
Once the ceremony was over, Kara and Taylor recessed down the aisle to Lauryn Hill's version of the song "Can't Take My Eyes Off You."
Swipe here for next slide
11 of 18
A Delicious Cocktail Hour
Guests mingled in the property's Boxwood Garden and enjoyed a fruit-and-cheese display in addition to passed hor d'oeuvres during the cocktail hour. Music from a custom song list curated by the bride and groom kept the energy going and, the bar served up margaritas made from Kara's father's own recipe.
12 of 18
Hand-calligraphed magnolia leaves served as novel place cards, the perfect complement to the natural theme of the wedding. The bridesmaids' bouquets contributed colorful décor to the head table.
13 of 18
Pretty Floral Place Settings
A trio of wooden farm tables were brought together to compose one large head table, which was further adorned with taper candles, potted herbs, bud vases, and a narrow garland of greenery. The remaining reception tables were decorated with fresh potted herbs, candles, and wine-colored tablecloths with faux burlap napkins in a creamy hue.
Menus from Minted adorned several place settings at each table. "We wanted to keep utensils and glassware simple," says Kara, "but went for it with the ornate floral plates, which were gorgeous and tied the whole table together."
14 of 18
The bride herself contributed to the table décor in her first major crafting project with a little help from her family. "My Uncle Sam stained and cut bases from tree branches for the table numbers, and I took on hot gluing moss to the actual numbers the week before the wedding," she says.
15 of 18
A Spirited Dessert Table
Flags hailing the couple's shared alma mater draped a dessert table that featured four cakes, hand pies, mini pies, cookies, and mini tarts. All of the desserts were from Paradox Pastry, a coffee shop the bride and her maid of honor frequented in college.
Swipe here for next slide
16 of 18
Of the four cakes at the reception, the couple chose to cut a delicious naked apple-spice confection with cream cheese frosting. A custom cake topper that included the couple's cat adorned the top tier.
18 of 18
Photography, Sarah Cramer Shields Photography
Location, Septenary Winery at Seven Oaks Farm
Event planning, Events with Panache
Catering, Roadside Chive
Flowers, Carbon and Salt
Calligraphy, Cori Leek
Stationery, Rock Paper Scissors; Minted
Cake, Paradox Pastry
Music, Garland Studios
Rentals, MS Events; Virginia Tent Rental
Hair, Top Knot Studio
Makeup, Brideface Richmond
Lighting, MS Events
Bride's gown, Alexandra Grecco
Bride's reception dress, For Love and Lemons
Bride's shoes, Gianvito Rossi
Bride's veil, Cleo and Clementine
Engagement ring and wedding bands, Blue Nile
Bridesmaids' dresses, WTOO by Watters
Groom's suit, The Black Tux
Groomsmen's suits, The Black Tux
Transportation, A&A Limousine